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The Secret to Happiness: The Importance of a Positive Internal Monologue
Your internal monologue is your inner voice, beliefs and internal experience. It is the way you speak to yourself, that voice in your head, and your judgements. Your thoughts and beliefs that you hold about yourself, your reality and the world around you. It is the constant narration that you hear throughout your day. Maybe it’s the voice that tells you things like ‘I always get caught behind red lights on the drive to work’. Or, the voice that says ‘I’m not good at maths tests’.
Our inner monologues are often very critical, but they don’t have to be something that brings you down. They are important and highly useful for understanding more about yourself, and your self-esteem. Unsurprisingly, they can be a phenomenal source of inspiration, growth and guidance. Your self-development journey should start with your internal monologue, after all, it could be argued that it is the single most influential factor in your life. Mindset truly can be everything.
Why is my inner monologue important?
Our internal monologue is important because it is the basis of our entire lives. Our lives are complex and there are many factors that we don’t have control over. However, a considerable extent of our experience can be summarised by the following formula.
Beliefs → Thoughts → Feelings → Behaviours → Outcomes
With this in mind, you can see how our outcomes, successes and failures are all impacted by our actions (seems sensible enough!) What motivates and controls our behaviours are often our feelings, desires and motivations, all of which originate from our thoughts and values, these of course stem from our beliefs. Outcomes can be anything in life, from our health, our success at work, our relationships or our well-being.
If you choose to see the world through this model, you will gain a lot more power and control over your life. Of course, we should acknowledge that there are things you cannot control. But, you can control your mindset and beliefs relating to them. This in turn will help you navigate difficult situations.
Where do my beliefs come from?
Our beliefs in life are formed very early on and are influenced by our childhood experiences and environment. You may feel that you are naturally more optimistic or pessimistic. That you naturally are a sceptic and don’t like to hold out on positive hopes. But, this is something that you should rethink. We are not naturally one or the other, which means we can change and learn to be more optimistic (hint: this is much more beneficial!).
Being optimistic and avoiding negative self-labels in life leads to better outcomes. This has been studied extensively in areas like health and sports, but can be applied to all life areas. If you choose to hold more optimistic beliefs, especially when facing adversity, you are more likely to act in ways that will inspire positive action. This leads to a higher chance of a positive outcome.
What are the dangers of negative self-labels?
Negative self-labels are one of the most detrimental things you can hold as you go through life. We form a key narrative for our lives based on our early experiences, and you may hold these negative beliefs for your whole life if you do not identify them and actively work on redirecting them. They may have at one time in your life served a purpose, such as keeping you from experiencing stress or harm, or even held some truth, but that does not mean that they will continue to do
Learned Optimism – Martin Seligman
Emotional agility – Susan David